Breaking the Fourth Wall

Yesterday I said that I was Frank Underwood to a T… and that was after I’d watched him murder someone. I knew what I meant, but I also wanted more clarity on it. So I was just sitting there waiting for Visual Studio to install, staring into space, when I realized that my blog was my own way of breaking the fourth wall, talking to the audience about the play that is my life. I was reminded of it when Aaron told me that watching the Fuller House pilot was worth it just for the fourth wall joke….. and it was.

The problem with opening your own fourth wall is that others can get to the same conclusions you can much faster. They can, in a sense, “outfox” you… said with a smile because years and years and YEARS ago, I was drinking with Dana and Amy at my house. I kept whispering a little too loudly to Dana (about Amy) “don’t let her outfox me.” It’s one of those stories I don’t mind telling on myself, but would get mortified when Dana would tell it about me. Why? Because if there’s anything I hate losing control of, it’s the story. For instance, I will absolutely embarrass the crap out of myself, but I will not watch you do it. Mostly because I can embarrass myself better than you can and emotionally, it’s a lot easier than watching someone else tell one of my stories. They have a particular cadence in my spoken voice. One of these days, I’ll have to post an .MP3 or something of my greatest hits.

But you probably knew I was heading down a road toward disaster long before I did.

It was just sudo rm -rf / all over the place. For the uninitiated, that’s the command that will raise you to administrator privileges on linux box, and delete every file on it. Your OS, your data, everything.

I threw a match on gasoline to my entire life, not for any reason except that’s what I thought was going to happen anyway. It was better to push people away than it was to watch them walk on their own. For instance, if you look through my blog archives, you’ll see several entries about missing DC and wanting to move back, or that I’d asked Dana to put it back on the 3-5 year plan, or whatever. Then, when I wanted to move back without Dana, it was seen as completely bizarre. What was bizarre was moving to Houston in the first place. I should have known it would end badly. I had just thrown up a metric fuck tonne of emotions about abuse that had taken place there, and then thought it was a good idea to be reminded of them every day? At the time, it seemed very reasonable. Then, as Dana got more and more depressed, not reaching out to other teaching programs, living there made even less sense. There’s a certain emotional mood I only have when I’m in Houston that I don’t have anywhere else, and it’s a dark, dark place. I thought that in a sense, having Dana and Chef there would make it seem different.

It didn’t.

If I hadn’t moved back to DC, I would have moved somewhere. I briefly thought about Austin, but realized I didn’t know anyone there except James and I didn’t know the land at all. As a Virgo, an earth sign, I am very attached to setting. Therefore, I didn’t want to take off to a place I didn’t know at all. When Argo asked Dana if she needed a restraining order, I was angry and despondent because I thought that the city was big enough for both of us without crossing paths… mostly because it is.

I didn’t even want to meet her on the ground unless it was mutually agreed upon. It would have been humiliating just to run into each other. A surprise and not a good one for either of us. I am thankful that I have only seen a few pictures, so I doubt I would recognize her unless she specifically walked up to me and said, “hi, I’m Argo.” It’s not going to happen. It’s just not. The only reason that she’d probably recognize me more easily is that I sent her pics all the time. Like when I got a new haircut or something, I’d shoot her an e-mail to see if she thought it was cute. She’s so direct I knew I’d never get a bullshit answer… which in the South would be, “my… that is a haircut.”

Besides, how do you take an online rabbit hole and turn it into ladies who lunch? I couldn’t picture that happening, either. Mostly what I pictured was staring at each other to make sure the other was real.

When my family visits, I stare at them the same way. When I went to lunch with Lindsay, there were moments when I felt like I couldn’t stop staring, because it had been so long since I’d seen her in the flesh… although when I was living in Houston, we rarely got a chance to see each other because her job staffing the Mayor was so consuming that there was little chance we’d run into each other, even on purpose. She’s been to the DC area twice since I’ve been here, though, which is almost as much as I saw her there.

I also had this vision of late in life, that Dana, Lindsay, and Matt would all be here, anyway. That the fight would be over and we could all just be friends again… it’s no secret that part of the reason I moved here is that Dana’s parents live in the same town as the Waffle House… that our paths are perpendicular, but not parallel. That we would have the choice to run into each other again, if we both wanted it.

I’m not sure that I do, but there will never be a time in my life where if presented with the opportunity, I wouldn’t go. That’s just what’s up. If Dana hadn’t wanted to keep the door closed, I would have loved to see her at her birthday and Christmas.

And then I remember how painful it was to go out with Meag when she came back to Houston for visits and all of the sudden, it doesn’t seem like so much fun anymore.

I think it’s best that I’m on my own, and I will think that for a long time to come. I have nothing to offer a potential girlfriend because I need to spend my energy learning to adult. I have been an emotionally arrested teenager long enough. I am running toward my own dreams for myself, therapy and grad school and thinking bigger than I currently am. In the smallness of grieving for the life I lost, I cannot think ahead. But the thinking bigger is taking shape. I can only hope that by breaking the fourth wall, I am helping others to feel not so alone.

And if the responses are any indication, I am.

Amen.

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